Before entering upon the miracles, it is necessary to explain the present position of Shintō with regard to these esoteric practices generally. For, though as we shall see when we look later into their history, it is probable that originally they were the common property of all Shintōists, they are not so to-day.
Of the present ten sects that compose the Shintō church, only two practice the possession-cult, the Shinshiu and the Mitaké sects. That they do so while the others do not is not matter of creed, but of tradition. Though called sects, the Shintō sects are not properly so much sects as sections. For they differ not by differently worshiping an identical god, but by identically worshiping different gods. Each of them likewise worships, though with less assiduity, all the others' gods. Each looks specially to the great shrine dedicated to its special gods; and all but two, one of which is a sort of general bureau of church organism, make pilgrimages to their shrine once or twice a year.
These sects date only from since the time